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Mobile Apps: Helping End-Users During These Trying Times

Mobile Apps: Helping End-Users During These Trying Times

The coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads from one person to another, which is caused by a novel coronavirus. The first outbreak happened in Wuhan, China.

In the US, almost 4,000 people with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have died as of this writing, and the numbers continue to increase rapidly, according to a report by The New York Times. 

The US government encouraged social distancing and extended it to April 30, confirming that the pandemic would likely peak in the next few weeks. The social distancing guidelines include staying away from public areas, avoiding social gatherings with groups of 10 and above, and avoiding travels.

President Donald Trump’s extension of the guidelines from an initial 15-day to a month is a big step that ensures that America shuts down in the meantime. Given the cascading humanitarian and policy implications of that decision, the catastrophic toll of the virus in the country, and also in most parts of the world, has left the government no choice.

Trump predicted the death rate in the United States, which doubled in the last few days, could peak in two weeks. But by June 1, the country could hit “the bottom of the hill.” 

The use of mobile apps during the outbreak 

A team of researchers from Oxford University is working on a smartphone app that will speed up population detection of the new coronavirus. The mobile app will document the communication between the owner and other users. When an application user is infected with the virus, their recent contacts will be advised to isolate them. The approach has clear negative consequences for individual privacy. 

However, the researchers argued it was still worthwhile to pursue considering the weakness of current contact tracing approaches, the already widespread existence of the virus, and the fact that the software would be an optional step that individuals would voluntarily take.

Google and Facebook also consider monitoring the collective actions of millions of users to assess how the deadly novel coronavirus spreads through the USA and how efficiently demands for social distancing can be measured. The findings will be shared with government departments to deal with a public health emergency, which could become unthinkable over the next few weeks. 

Every attempt is made to protect the privacy of users through the anonymization of data. They tell us how people meet and move around may be crucial for the fight against the virus, which threatens to overwhelm US hospitals if the current transmission rate does not improve.

Other countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and China, have local smartphone apps that help its citizens avoid contagion. 

In line with COVID-19-related mobile apps, Apple is evaluating mobile apps on its platform more critically to ensure the safety of its users. They want to make sure that only developers from health-focused non-profit organizations, government organizations, medical/educational institutions, and deeply credentialed companies from the healthcare industry.

Fighting boredom while self-isolating through mobile apps

People who stay at home are looking for ways to avoid boredom. 

There are numerous educational and entertainment apps available in the app market. Aside from watching countless videos on Youtube or browsing movies for kids on Netflix, parents can give their children other mental activities during the social distancing guidelines. Apps that are physics-related and that let users create their own games are some options for kids.

For adults, there are a lot of mobile apps that can stimulate the brain. Exercise apps or recipe apps are also available for everyone to try.

Ideas on mobile apps that can help during a crisis

Do you have an app idea that would be helpful or entertaining? At GADAI, we would love to hear your concept and turn it into reality. 

Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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